TOP TEN MOVIES
FOR THE HOLIDAYS
1. STUART LITTLE
$16 million in last week: $79.4 million in three weeks
Because of scenes of menace and a few cuss words, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents..
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance
suggested. "Stuart Little" is a fetching live-action fantasy in which a talking
white mouse (voice of Michael J. Fox) is happily adopted as the younger
son in a human family (in which Geena Davis plays the mom) only to be
targeted as a meal by mean neighborhood alleycats. As loosely adapted
from E. B. White's 1945 classic, the cheery tale has ample visual appeal,
though purists may find the neatly happy ending a cop-out to the author's
more probing tale of self-discovery.
2. THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
$12.4 million last week/ $39.8 million in two weeks:
Because of occasional gory violence, and implied affair,
discreet homosexual innuendo, fleeting full nudity and a few instances of rough language, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a disquieting
melodrama set in 1958 Italy where, after befriending a rich expatriate couple (played by Jude
Law and Gwyneth Paltrow), an impoverished young American assumes his identity and
stops at nothing to keep the risky charade going. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1955
novel, a chilling cautionary tale of materialism expanding to grotesque evil unfolds replete with
seductive visuals and sleek performances -- but an ambiguous ending.
3. TOY STORY 2
$12.3 million last week/ $208.8 million in seven weeks:
The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I --
general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G
-- general audiences. In "Toy Story 2" the animated adventures of toys
that come to life when humans aren't around continues as cowboy
Woody voiced by Tom Hanks is stolen by a greedy toy collector, sending Woody's toy buddies, led by Buzz Lightyear, the voice of Tim Allen, on a breathless rescue mission. Featuring even better animation, the briskly paced cartoon sequel is slightly less original,
but zippy action scenes and gentle humor should amuse small fry and grown-ups alike.
4. THE GREEN MILE
$11.8 million last week/ $76.7 million in four weeks:
Because of some violence including an horrific electrocution, occasional profanity and
intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Green Mile" is a prison drama set in 1935 Louisana where death-row head guard Tom Hanks comes to believe in the innocence of a huge, gentle black man played superbly by Michael Clarke Duncan whose miraculous healing powers affect those around him in startling ways. Adapted from the serialized 1996 Stephen King novel, the movie is unduly long but presents affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones and a sobering depiction of capital punishment.
5. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
$11.7 million last week/ $45.8 million in two weeks:
Because of much stylized violence, brutality, sexual situations,
locker-room frontal nudity, drug abuse, recurring rough language and occasional profanity,
the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV - adults, with reservations.. The Motion
Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Any Given Sunday" is a frenetically
jumbled look at a professional football team trying to make the play-offs under veteran coach
Al Pacino who puts his career on the line by starting an ailing but reliable old-timer as
quarterback rather then the hotshot young maverick favored by the club's devious owner
(played by Cameron Diaz). The strictly formula sports story follows the underdogs to the big
game in a jazzed-up narrative with jarring scenes of physical and verbal violence on and off
the field, in locker rooms, bedrooms and corporate suites, while the coach philosophizes,
cajoles, screams and whispers about team unity and the game's dignity.
6. GALAXY QUEST
$9.7 million last week/ $27.3 million in two weeks:
No available review from the NCCB as of yet.
7. BICENTENNIAL MAN
$8.1 million last week: $39.4 million in three weeks
Because of mild sexual innuendo and references, as
well as occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is
A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America
rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Bicentennial Man" is a
futuristic fantasy in which a family robot (played by Robin Williams) actively
seeks to become fully human over two centuries and eventually to marry the
family's great-granddaughter. The bland tale examines what it is to be
human in terms of free will, love and mortality, but its poky pace blunts
interest in the robot's earnest quest.
8. DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGOLO
$5.6 million last week/ $46.4 million in four weeks:
Because of sexual situations, comically
intended violence, brief rear nudity and occasional profanity, the U.S.
Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Deuce Bigalow: Male
Gigolo" a klutzy loser (played by Rob Schneider) tries and fails at temporary
male prostitution in order to pay for accidentally wrecking his bossís condo.
The pathetically unfunny comedy dredges up lame double entendres and
toilet humor when not mocking characters with assorted physical diseases
and disabilities who resort to paying for male companionship.
9. MAN ON THE MOON
$5.4 million last week:/ $24.6 million in two weeks
Because of sexual situations with nudity, a live-in relationship, brief
wrestling violence, occasional profanity and sporadic rough language, the U.S. Catholic
Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is
R -- restricted. "Man on the Moon" is an uninvolving biography about 1970s-80's comedian
Andy Kaufman (played by Jim Carrey), whose peculiar sense of humor, elaborte charades
and abrasive style drew some ardent admirers and a largely indifferent public by the time of
his death at age 35. Despite Carrey's uncanny performance, no insights emerge about the
oddball entertainer and viewers may wonder why this marginal figure merited a major motion
10. ANNA AND THE KING
$5.36 million last week: $24.7 million in three weeks
Because of sporadic violence and references to
polygamy and concubines, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II
-- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating
is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be
inappropriate for children under 13. In "Anna and the King", 19th-century
English schoolmarm Jodie Foster and imperious king of Siam Chow Yun-Fat
learn much from each other as she teaches his 58 children, while a
duplicitous general plots to kill the king and all his heirs. After a sluggish start
the lavish historical drama goes beyond sumptuous visuals to explore
contrasting East-West cultures and beliefs while maintaining suspense
about the assassination plot.
While the reviews by the NCCB are very good and provide the ratings, we have discovered another site which will give you a much more detailed survey of what to watch out for. Just click on Christian Analysis of Culture Alert.